Special Report: Alpine Valley, WI with Nick LiptonBy Nick Lipton • Mar 9th, 2012 • Category: Features, Latest, Reviews
Lost in a land o’ farms, small towns, massive vacation homes and nutcase skimobile enthusiasts Alpine Valley Ski Resort is lower Wisconsin’s number one shred hill… probably. Either way, it’s special in every meaning of the world. First, it’s special to me, for breaking my Wisconsin cherry. Second, it’s special to rock n’ roll as the amphitheater across the street has hosted the worlds biggest, loudest and best bands like Jimmy “Fucking” Buffet, The Black Crowes, Korn, Phish and Dave Matthews Band and other stuff like Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, Coldplay and Aerosmith. Lastly, it’s special because it’s literally retarded in an endearing, “Of course we’ll let billy play with us, just make sure his helmet is tied on tight.” kind of way. Anyway, I headed to Alpine Valley at the crack of 2PM to get extreme in the Cheese State.
Jimmy Buffet fans ripped and ready to rock. High-five boobs and all! photo: Stolen from Google
Once at Alpine Valley I took note of two things immediately. We (Olivia the driver and I) were surrounded by some odd Hansel and Gretel town, and fatties who might want to eat us. Think half gingerbread house half awkward Austrian architecture. But we got over that when we found out what a deal this place is. Cheap night passes, super friendly staff and an awkward assortment of giggling girls and total fucking weirdos from Chicago. Amped as all hell we headed up to meet the loc-dawgs and get ripping.
Main lodge Alpine Valley Resort. photo: Stolen from Yahoo
With an uncanny 388ft of verticale to shred it’s incredible that 20 runs and 12 lifts are all they can fit onto this mountain. With what I’m pretty sure are four high speed quads, or something close to it, the lines didn’t exist and we started taking more laps in a minute than you can get in a weekend at any major resort. Also, with super scary Black Diamonds like “Big Thunder” this place is for everyone from the babies on the magic carpet to the baddest bros on Earth, which we’d soon discover over in the not one, but three terrain parks.
Soak it in, 30 minutes for a full groom. photo: Stolen from Tumblr
With no powder, and pretty heavily groomed runs, this place was basically Breckenridge. That is, until we got to the park. Split into three levels, Big Air, Rail Yard and Watch Out this park was insane. The jumps had fences around the deck forcing riders to nut up and hit the jump or crash straight into blue plastic death. The jump line, two 30ish footers, had 6 foot tall take-offs, no speed and a deck covered in craters. Two guys made it over the jumps all day, which didn’t include the kid with a Target sticker on his helmet, but I’m sure he’ll get there. Seriously though, I watched the KOW-A-BUNGA attitude all day/night long as kid after man hucked themselves straight into the deck, chest first screaming, “Wahoo” and “YAAAAAAA” if they even got close.
I’m not really down to skip an entire mountain to get speed for two jumps, because I’m a wimp. So, the next park was my jam. That’s where I really let loose. With a ride on flat bar, roller to two foot corrugated tube, wu-tang booter to down syndrome rail, some piece of trash thing and a late ’90s section complete with roller coaster and c-box I let loose all the big moves and got tons of cheers from the dudes on the chair. What nice people these Cheeseheads are! Anyway, after crushing that park it was time to jam on the Watch Out park. Here, one rail sat buried in the snow. I did a sweet back 180 off it without ever leaving the ground. Then some chick scorpion over it because, well, it was invisible.
Made from cheese because that’s not gross or anything. photo: Stolen from Cholesterol Hell
What really makes a place like Alpine Valley special? Maybe it’s the fact that it closes for 30 minutes at 5ish o’clock so they can groom the entire mountain. Maybe it’s the fact that I never saw a single park crew dude even after the landings turned to shit and the park became a hazard. Maybe it’s that kids were there trying to get better and being super duper stoked to ride. Seriously, I only saw one too-cool dude all day, and he blew so who cares. Either way, if you’re ever in Lower Wisconsin, give Alpine Valley a shot, or just drive down the highway to the cheese castle and feel your stomach turn over.
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